Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Friday, April 28, 2006


Its not often there’s bipartisan Republican-Democrat Pro-Life bill, but HB322 qualifies. The bill allows a parent to safely surrender, without prosecution, an infant shortly after its birth to a peace officer, physician, hospital employee, or fire fighter. This bill hopes to help prevent abandonment of new born babies in a manner that would lead to injury or death, like in a gutter, or dumpster, et cetera. I co-sponsored this bill.

Prior to the House vote, I made the following floor speech:

“Mr. Speaker:

I am Pro-Life. Always have been. Am now. Always will be.

This bill is an excellent example of how those of us strongly opposed to Roe v. Wade can find constructive agreement with those who support Roe v. Wade.

People of good will need to expand areas of agreement on matters of great debate, for the good of all concerned. This bill does exactly that, and I support it.”

NOTE: HB322 passed the House unanimously.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


When I joined the legislature in 2003, I sponsored HB 40 to restrict issuance of Alaska drivers' licenses to persons with a legal presence of Alaska – in other words, not illegal aliens. That bill languished in the State Affairs Committee until until May 1st, 2004, when it was passed out of committee too late to make it the Senate before the end of the 23rd Legislature. One of the representatives who voted “do NOT pass” in 2004 is this year’s Chairman of the House State Affairs Committee.

A year ago March 2005 I sponsored HB290, my second bill on the same subject, but with added provisions that would allow Alaska to conform to the national “Real ID Act” that should take effect in 2008. The House State Affairs gave HB290 bill two hearings in March 2006, but failed to move the bill.

Meanwhile, SB189, a Senate companion bill to my HB290, whizzed through the Senate and was passed to the House on a 17 to 1 vote – where it was sent to the House State Affairs Committee on April 11, and finally heard today April 27th. I support SB189, which is identical to my HB290. The committee received excellent expert testimony from the Director of the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles, as well as from the Senator sponsoring the bill.

Unfortunately, the hearing was allowed to turn into a debate on national immigration policy, national identification cards, the national Real Identification Act, and the 'rights' of foreign students – instead of focusing on whether someone without a legal presence in Alaska should have the privilege of a driver’s license. Unbelievable.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------MOTION BY REP. LYNN TO MOVE SB189 out of the House State Affairs Committee:

“Mr. Chairman, we are not debating the national ‘Real ID Act.’ We are not debating national ID cards. We are not debating national immigration policies. We are here in Alaska. We're supposed to be debating SB189 which is a bill that restricts Alaska driver’s licenses to those who have a legal presence in the United States and, by extension, a legal presence in Alaska.

I can’t believe some of testimony – maybe I should say “stuff” – I’ve heard today against this bill. What’s the agenda here? What ever happened to common sense – which doesn’t seem so common?

How in the world can anyone be in the United States, or Alaska, without a legal presence and have any legal privilege to drive – or do anything else?

Every once in a while we get a bill before the committee that makes eminent common sense, and this bill is one of those bills. And so I make a motion to move SB189 out of committee.”
NOTE: The motion failed on a 2 – 2. I voted “yes.”
Unless a miracle occurs, both my House bill and the good Senator's bill are dead for this year – even though outside the House State Affairs Committee there's wide support, both in the legislature and the community, to prevent illegal aliens from obtaining drivers’ licenses. What happened today wins my April 2006 “THAT'S INCREDIBLE AWARD."

The opposition brought in the “heavy guns” from both inside and outside Alaska to kill this bill. They are the same type people who insist on calling illegal aliens “undocumented workers.” The same kind of people who don't understand national security, and the potential for identity theft. What happened in Alaska today is a mirror of the national problems we're experiencing on anything that has to do with illegal aliens.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Just because something seems good, it “ain’t necessarily so.” HB422 was introduced in the House for the purported purpose of putting a halt to school bullies. Good intent. Poor legislation. The bill mandates that school districts adopt a policy that prohibits bullying, and advocates emphasizing positive character traits and values and respectful speech. OK, well duh!!

This is the kind of proposed legislation that begs for a House floor speech, and I accommodated

“Mr. Speaker:

I’m going to cast a difficult vote today against this bill, and I need to tell you why – because a vote against this bill doesn’t go along with being “politically correct.” It’s what I call one of those “feel good” bills.

Yes, I’m opposed– strongly opposed - to bullying, whether it’s bullying at work, school, or even here in the legislature. At one time or another, I’ve been subject to all these kinds of bullying, and I suspect everybody in this room could say the same. It’s an unpleasant fact of life.

But let’s talk about this bill that’s supposed to stop bullying in schools. I wish it could. If I thought it could, I’d vote for it. Bullying is a form of misbehavior – and good school districts, and good school principals, and good classroom teachers should be able to control misbehavior without this bill. If they can’t, they need to get a different job.

A lot of misbehavior problems at school – and that includes bullying – could be prevented if administrators supported their teachers. It would also help if the legislature could some day provide enough money to schools for smaller class sizes – so that teachers would have fewer students to supervise. Maybe, if we live long enough to finish the debate on oil taxes and the gas pipeline, we might actually get enough money someday for smaller classes.

As a retired teacher, I’m here to tell you that the last thing teachers need is more paperwork. Maybe if teachers could spend less time doing paperwork, and more time teaching, and more time enforcing student discipline, some of the bullying could be stopped.

Also, there’s no reason in the world why school districts, and individual schools can’t, and shouldn’t, develop their own anti-bullying programs. Let’s give them some credit. Whatever happened to local control?

Some of the testimony I’ve heard on this bill in the Education Committee was just plain silly. It was said that bullying included a coach bullying at a kid in P.E.. Good heavens! And I have to ask, how loud can a teacher be yelling at a kid to stop bullying, before the teacher is accused of bullying the bully? This bill, actually proposed by an attorney, is also a made-in-heaven deal for dubious litigation.

Once again, I’m opposed to school bullies – but this bill doesn’t fix the problem, it just makes us feel good. I respect the intent of the sponsor, but I’m voting against this bill.”

NOTE: The “Bully Bill” passed the House with the following vote:
YES: 29 NO: 7 EXCUSED: 2 ABSENT: 2 I voted “NO”

Friday, April 21, 2006


During a recent House debate, one Member made a statement that seemed to disparage college students who earn a C grade average. I have a problem with elitist attitudes.

Everybody isn’t a genius, and everyone isn’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth. There’s a respectable place in this world for students with average grades – just like there’s a respectable place for non-college folks, and trades people.

Some college students with average grades may, in fact, be doing exceptional work. Consider the student who carries a 16 or more units, works a full-time 8 hour job to support his wife and kids, and maintains a C average. In my book, that C student is hardly “average.” The toughest part of college is to persist until graduation. The grade for persistence is called a diploma. In the real academic world, the diploma is the grade that counts most.

Someday, I’d like to do a study that identifies C average students who have become quite successful. But we already know of some C average students who have done quite well in life: congratulations to George W. Bush, John Kerry, and Al Gore.

It’s a great accomplishment to complete college, whatever the grade point average. Anyone who achieves a degree is in no way average, regardless of college grades. Over a period of time I’ve listed my academic degrees on many different documents, but never once has anyone asked my grade point average. Having a college degree usually opens more doors to opportunity than grade averages.

The fact of the matter is, it’s the so-called “average people” who are indispensable to the good order of any society. God Bless them, one and all.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Rape and sexual assault are horrible crimes that need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Today, I passed a bill out of the House aimed at increasing the penalty for such sexual assaults if the perpertrator has been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. My Press Release follows:

(Juneau) - "HB 258, a bill sponsored by Representative Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage), makes it an aggravating factor at sentencing for a person convicted of rape or other sexual assault previously diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The bill passed the House unanimously today.

Representative Lynn said, "This pro-active bill acknowledges the additional pain and suffering caused by rapists and sexual assailants, who expose their victims to the potential delayed death sentence of HIV/AIDS, in addition to the horrific sexual assault. How or why the convicted rapist acquired HIV/AIDS is not the issue. The purpose of the bill is to help make Alaska a safer place to live, work, and play."

HB 258 has earned wide support from the public safety community, as well as groups with the mission of protecting women, men, and children. The bill now moves to the Senate for further consideration."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Telephone Caller Identification devices are becoming more and more common. Unfortunately, Caller ID is also getting dangerious. I crafted a House Bill 308 to address the problem. The following is my press release about the passage of HB308:
Juneau) - "HB 308, legislation to make it a crime to insert false information into the caller ID system, passed the house yesterday. Representative Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage) sponsored this legislation to combat a growing problem nationwide.

The concern behind the passage of HB 308 lies in the fact that sexual predators could use "Spoofing" to trick and lure women and children into dangerous situations where they can be victimized. There is a potential for hoax emergency calls to law enforcement or fire departments. Scam artists who appear to be phoning from a reputable agency can defraud their victims with ease.

"False caller ID Spoofing is more than just a prank, or annoyance, like getting a call from Elvis Presley or a pizza delivered to someone who didn't order it. The power to create serious mischief with caller ID spoofing technology is almost unlimited and it can facilitate fraud, and even be potentially dangerous," said Representative Lynn.

HB 308 makes it a class B misdemeanor for anyone in Alaska who commits caller ID fraud. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration."

Sunday, April 09, 2006


I love music. Music you can tap your toes to. Fun music. When I was young, that kind of good music played daily on every radio station. In those days I played baritone sax in my high school swing band at the infamous Garfield High in East Los Angeles –“big band” music. Every time we could, the “band kids” went out to the Hollywood Palladium Ballroom to gather ‘round the bandstand and listen close up to the musical greats – and even talk with them: Harry James, Freddy Martin, Les Brown, the Dorsey’s, and others! We knew these guys were “great” – but didn’t know they would become legends. What a memory!

I was very active in high school music – especially the marching band. My first US Air Force assignment, before going on to flying school, was the 541st AF Band at Williams AFB, Arizona. Alas, base bands now are a thing of the past (replaced for cost efficiency with regional military bands). But I do enjoy military music – nothing beats a rousing John Phillip Sousa or Carl Teike march.

Military music is also a kind of distant cousin to “oompah band” Oktoberfest music. For many years, before immigrating to Alaska, I played sax in the big “American Bavarian Brass Band” in California (known affectionately as the “Pass Gassers”). In addition to blowing sax in that band, I was also Chicken Dance Demonstrator at band performances. Don’t tell anyone. I want to be re-elected!

All of this (unnecessary, but pleasingly nostalgic) preamble brings me to the great annual Alaska Folk Festival in Juneau that – praise be – comes to town in April, during the time I’m in Juneau for the legislative session. The folk musicians come at their own expense from every nook and cranny of Alaska to perform to an enthusiastic audience. And it’s all free – which appeals to my fiscal conservatism.

A different Festival group performs every fifteen minutes. So, if you don’t like one group, it’ll quickly be replaced by another. Almost without exception, performers are highly talented. When I see these kinds of local talent performing, I can’t believe they’re not major performing artists making millions of bucks (I guess they’re not lucky enough to be in the right place, at the right time. Somehow, it doesn’t seem fair). The wonderful performers at the Folk Festival come from every walk of life in Alaska. They love performing. I love listening!

The most common performance at the Alaska Folk Festival is Bluegrass Music. It’s a high energy, foot-stomping, and technically challenging variety of acoustic string music (guitar, banjo, mandolin, string bass) with improvised solos. The cultural ancestor of bluegrass music is Celtic, and Northern Ireland – especially the everyday music of Scotch Protestants who were settled by the British in a “plantation” in Ulster Province as a counterforce to indigenous Irish Catholics. We refer to them today as the “Scotch-Irish.” Interestingly, I’m Catholic, but most of my genealogy is Scotch-Irish Protestant, not Irish Catholic (obviously, another mark of non-conformity).

In years preceding the American Revolution and the 1776 Declaration of Independence, hundreds of thousands of Scotch-Irish left Ulster and emigrated to America. My ancestors were among them. A large number of Scotch-Irish settled in remote and isolated vallies of the Appalachian Mountains. They brought their ancestral music with them. In “mountain music,” as this genre of music is sometimes termed, hear the old chord progressions, close harmonies, and vocalistic styles of its ancient Scotch-Irish musical heritage. Mountain music is the common ancestor of country western, and especially Bluegrass. It’s a derivation of the music that came across the ocean from Northern Ireland and, before that, Celtic homelands in Europe.

I really enjoy the Juneau Folk Festival. Good music. Good people. My favorite performers at this year's Alaska Folk Festival were “Belly Meat” from Sitka, "Barefoot Bluegrass" from Anchorage, and especially “Bluegrass 101” from Juneau.

Friday, April 07, 2006


The following editorial, published today in the Anchorage Daily News is a direct response to a previous editorial opposing my bill published by the state commissioner of Alaska's Department of Health and Human Services.

I'm very concerned about cost and availability of good health care in Alaska. With that in mind, I've sponsored both a bill and an initiative to eliminate the monoplies created by so-called "Certificates of Need" mandated by the state administration.

Anchorage Daily News Compass Editorial Published: April 7, 2006


Want to open a health care business in Alaska? Under current law, you'll have to go hat-in-hand to the governor and his minions to beg for a "certificate of need." That's why I've sponsored House Bill 287 and co-sponsored an initiative to repeal Alaska certificate of need law.

If someone wants to open a hot dog stand, shoe store or a health care facility, it's none of the government's business. A competitive marketplace is as American as apple pie, whether for medical care or anything else. Competition encourages lower prices, motivates excellence and facilitates consumer choice. That's Economics 101.

Current certificate of need requirements discriminate against small businesses by denying entry into the health care market. Limited choices inflate prices. Perhaps the Certificate of need should be relabeled "Certificate of Monopoly."

When I get sick, I don't want the government limiting my choices. The more medical availability the better. When I shop for a new TV, things usually turn out better if I have a wide range of dealers and models to choose from. Good medical care is no different and is infinitely more important.

Medical costs in Alaska are skyrocketing to crisis levels. Eliminating certificate of need requirements should help lower Alaska's health care costs, reduce workers' compensation costs and help keep things more affordable for both families and businesses. We can't lower the price of gasoline by limiting oil production. Why would limiting the supply of medical facilities lower health care costs?

As expected, health care monopolies with vested interests have responded the only way they can -- by attaching humongous fiscal notes to both my bill and the initiative. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, "There they go again!"

The first cost scenario received for the initiative eliminating the certificate of need was an amazing $41 million. Fiscal notes by the Department of Health and Social Services for HB 287 came up to about $45 million cost to the state. A recent newspaper opinion piece by the administration pegs state fiscal impact at more than $30 million. Trying to get realistic estimates from the administration has been like trying to pick up a bar of soap in the shower.

The astronomical figures attached to HB 287 are grossly misleading and inaccurate. Estimates are based on extremely unlikely expenditures, like the cost of a new cardiac hospital. (That's as likely as Lockheed building an aircraft factory here.) Most expenditures cited in the administration estimates are paid for by the business owners at no cost to the state; nonetheless they're lumped into the fiscal note.

No explanation accompanies the data -- just numbers changing with each phase of the moon. The state admits the cost estimates are suspect by stating, "It is not possible to identify with any confidence which projects would or would not have been approved." Fiscal notes don't even mention potential savings to the state if the certificate of need requirement is scrapped.

The goal of HB 287 and the related initiative is to eliminate obsolete and artificial certificate of need barriers, thereby allowing expanded medical choice and less expensive health care. My bill and the initiative should be judged on verifiable fiscal information, potential cost savings and excellence for all concerned. That's only fair. Like everything else, medical care should be based on the principles of free enterprise -- not political influence from large monopolistic hospitals.
Note: My bill (HB287)is scheduled for its second hearing in the House HESS Committee on ASpril 27, 2006. Comments are invited.

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